With all the discussion about a pastor's sermon preparation and preaching, I thought I would throw out a quote from another pastor, and then give a few relevant book recommendations. The quote is from Thomas Murphey, a Princeton Theological Seminary grad. and Presbyterian minister from the nineteenth century. His book, Pastoral Theology is a great read for those in, or going into, the ministry.
There is one counsel concerning the work of sermonizing so important and so comprehensive that it should not be omitted in a treatise on the general subject of pastoral theology.
The one advice which we would give to ministers here is, to aim at doing the very best in each sermon. It is easy to get into the habit of slighting work here - of feeling that the present is not a subject of sufficient importance to call forth all one's strength - to yield to a sense of lassitude and haste for this once - to put off full the exertion of full effort to some other and more important occasion. Against all this we would very earnestly advise. The aim should be to do the very best that is in one's power on the particular sermon that is now on hand. The strength should not be reserved for another time; the best should be done now...
As a motive to this it should be remembered that peaching is the ministers first and greatest duty. It was not to baptize or to wait upon tables that the Apostle Paul felt himself called, but he felt that a woe was hanging over him if he did not preach the gospel. It is the same with all ministers who have much of Paul's spirit. They may slight anything, they may slight everything else, but they cannot slight the sermon. - Thomas Murphey, Pastoral Theology (1877)
Relevant Reads: There are many more books I could suggest, but here are just a few that have proved to be very helpful for me. If you have other suggestions, leave a comment.
Pastoral Theology, Thomas Murphey The Reformed Pastor, Richard Baxter The Christian Ministry, Charles Bridges Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, John Piper The Radical Reformission, Mark Driscoll Christ Centered Preaching, Bryan Chapell The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text, Sidney Greidanus